Assessing the Cost of Global Biodiversity and Conservation Knowledge

Last modified: 
August 29, 2016 - 6:35pm
Tags: 
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 08/2016
Authors: Diego Juffe-Bignoli, Thomas Brooks, Stuart Butchart, Richard Jenkins, Kaia Boe, Michael Hoffmann, Ariadne Angulo, Steve Bachman, Monika Böhm, Neil Brummitt, Kent Carpenter, Pat Comer, Neil Cox, Annabelle Cuttelod, William Darwall, Moreno Di Marco, Lincoln Fishpool, Bárbara Goettsch, Melanie Heath, Craig Hilton-Taylor, Jon Hutton, Tim Johnson, Ackbar Joolia, David Keith, Penny Langhammer, Jennifer Luedtke, Eimear Lughadha, Maiko Lutz, Ian May, Rebecca Miller, María Oliveira-Miranda, Mike Parr, Caroline Pollock, Gina Ralph, Jon Rodríguez, Carlo Rondinini, Jane Smart, Simon Stuart, Andy Symes, Andrew Tordoff, Stephen Woodley, Bruce Young, Naomi Kingston
Journal title: PLOS ONE
Volume: 11
Issue: 8
Pages: e0160640

Knowledge products comprise assessments of authoritative information supported by standards, governance, quality control, data, tools, and capacity building mechanisms. Considerable resources are dedicated to developing and maintaining knowledge products for biodiversity conservation, and they are widely used to inform policy and advise decision makers and practitioners. However, the financial cost of delivering this information is largely undocumented. We evaluated the costs and funding sources for developing and maintaining four global biodiversity and conservation knowledge products: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, Protected Planet, and the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. These are secondary data sets, built on primary data collected by extensive networks of expert contributors worldwide. We estimate that US$160 million (range: US$116–204 million), plus 293 person-years of volunteer time (range: 278–308 person-years) valued at US$ 14 million (range US$12–16 million), were invested in these four knowledge products between 1979 and 2013. More than half of this financing was provided through philanthropy, and nearly three-quarters was spent on personnel costs. The estimated annual cost of maintaining data and platforms for three of these knowledge products (excluding the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems for which annual costs were not possible to estimate for 2013) is US$6.5 million in total (range: US$6.2–6.7 million). We estimated that an additional US$114 million will be needed to reach pre-defined baselines of data coverage for all the four knowledge products, and that once achieved, annual maintenance costs will be approximately US$12 million. These costs are much lower than those to maintain many other, similarly important, global knowledge products. Ensuring that biodiversity and conservation knowledge products are sufficiently up to date, comprehensive and accurate is fundamental to inform decision-making for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Thus, the development and implementation of plans for sustainable long-term financing for them is critical.

Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No

Add new comment